A bit of Irish fiddling, with Deirdre Ní Chonghaile

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile,
Guest at Fiddle Club of the World
Friday, March 23, 7:30p,
Old Town School East

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile is a fiddle-player from the Aran Islands in Ireland. She is currently the NEH Keough Fellow at the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where she is revising her PhD into a book about music collectors and music-collecting. This summer, she will take up the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies before returning to Ireland to start her next project, a comprehensive collection of songs composed in the Aran Islands over the last 200 years. She also works as a broadcaster, musician, and teacher of music and dance.

$15 dues for this meeting, click here, or choose the yearly dues option.

Here are some fairly easy tunes we could play together, as found on YouTube.
Na Ceannabháin Bhána, a slip jig (9/8 time)
Nead na Lachan sa Mhúta, another slip jig, also called The Fox Hunter’s

The Peeler and the Goat, a slide
slow and fast

Also, check out the Tune(s) of the Week for the last two weeks for
a set of polkas and a set of hornpipes or barn dances

Finally, here are the ABCs for tunes that Deirdre suggested.

Tune(s) of the Week for March 5, 2012

It’s that time of year when many of us wish we were Irish. That was one of my life goals when I was 15, due in part to a vague notion I had then that traditional Irish music might be found along my pathway to a satisfying and exciting future.


A few years later, at the end of 1969, I made first and only journey to Ireland, including a boat ride out to the Aran Islands off Galway Bay in the West. During my few days on Inishmaan, I tried to attend a dance or find a fiddle player, with no success, due to my own social clumsiness. I did hear a few sean nos (old style) songs at night, sung in Gaelic by one or another old man in an Aran Sweater, while we all nursed a pint in the island’s pub. Meanwhile, the young folks–most home for the holiday from work in England–were having a fine old time dancing away the darkness.

Last fall I had the great pleasure to meet Gaelic scholar, Deirdre Ní Chonghaile at an American Folklore Society meeting in Bloomington, Indiana. We played some tunes together with our fellows, and I had a chance to dance a bit with her. And since, Deirdre is from Inishmore, the largest of the three Arans, I finally fulfilled my 40-year-old quest to dance as they dance on the Aran Islands.

Here is a set of two tunes commonly played together on the Arans for a couple copy. The recording is taken from a YouTube video of a kitchen session in County Mayo with Caomhie Donlon on fiddle, her father Larry on banjo, and Cormac Gannon on pipes. The first tune is a common hornpipe, The Stack of Barley. Deirdre calls the second tune Some Say the Devil is Dead and Buried in Killarney.

The Stack of Barley-Jenny Will You Marry Me

T:The Stack of Barley-Jenny Won’t You Marry Me
T:-Some Say the Devil is Dead and Buried in Killarney
gf | efed B2dB | AGAB AcBA | GFGA B2(3Bcd | e2A2 A2gf|
efed B2dB | AGAB AcBA | GFGA BdAc | B2G2 G2 ::
GA | BGBd g2(3efg | agfg edBd | g2fg edBd | e2A2 A2(3efg |
aged g2fe | dBAG AcBA | GFGA BdAc | B2G2 G2 :|
zE |: D2DE GABA | GEE2 cEGE | D2DE GABc | dedB (3ABA G2 ::
d2dc Bcd2 | e2ed cdec | d2dc BcdB | GABG (3ABA G2 :|

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile
Guest at Fiddle Club of the World
Friday, March 23, 7:30p, Old Town School East